Monday, April 27, 2009

Mary Ann Glendon refuses to accept Laetare Medal from Notre Dame

Less than a month before Notre Dame's Commencement, the former Vatican ambassador Mary Ann Glendon has written President Jenkins to refuse the university's Laetare Medal, rebuffing his claim that her acceptance speech would somehow "balance" the event.

Mary Ann Glendon, a pro-life feminist and Harvard professor, today released an open letter to Notre Dame President John I. Jenkins, in which she told Jenkins that she could not speak alongside President Obama at the May 17th Commencement exercises.

In her letter, Glendon related that she was initially "profoundly moved" at the news that she would receive Notre Dame's coveted Laetare Medal. After hearing the news, she said she quickly began crafting an acceptance speech that she "hoped would be worthy of the occasion."

In March, Glendon said that she received a phone call from Fr. Jenkins informing her that she would not be giving the commencement speech, but that instead President Obama would fill that role. Upon learning of the change of plans, Gledon said that a "task that once seemed so delightful" had now been "complicated by a number of factors."

The first factor Glendon mentioned was her work as a "longtime consultant" to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which caused her to become "dismayed" that Notre Dame "planned to award the president an honorary degree." This action, she said, would "disregard" the U.S. Bishop's "Catholic's in Political Life" document.

Glendon also rebuffed the idea that the teaching "seeks to control or interfere" with a Catholic institution's "freedom to invite and engaged in serious debate whomever it wishes."

The former Vatican ambassador also took exception to Fr. Jenkin's "talking point" that awarding the Laetare Medal to her would "balance the event." Click here to read the entire post.

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